The US Army is working on developing offensive and defensive directed-energy laser weapons to enhance military capabilities.

The weapons are scheduled to be developed and integrated into the Indirect Fire Protection Capability programme by 2023.

US Army Research and Technology deputy assistant secretary Mary J. Miller said: "The Army’s S&T effort is committed to pursuing high-energy lasers."

"Lasers have been promised for a long time, but they’ve never held up and delivered what was asked for, so the operators are rightfully sceptical. That’s why the army is taking lasers out into operational environments and testing them."

"The Army’s S&T effort is committed to pursuing high-energy lasers."

Set to be integrated in gradual phases, the weapon systems will help the US forces to counter threats, including rockets, artillery and mortars, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles.

The US Army has already revealed its high-energy laser mobile demonstrator (HEL MD) programme.

The HEL MD incorporates a laser and vehicle-mounted beam director, in addition to enhanced multi-mode radar (surrogate radar) support.

Meanwhile, the US Air Force (USAF) is planning to develop an offensive laser that will be fitted to AFSOC AC-130 gunships in collaboration with the Special Operations Command.

Image: The Sodium Guidestar at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Starfire Optical Range at Kirtland Air Force Base. Photo: courtesy of Air Force photo.